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A Direct Path to Wonder

A Direct Path to Wonder

Last year, a highly unusual assignment landed in my lap, something I never would have thought to pitch: a children’s book.

How do you write for children? I am having a great time figuring it out. It’s a project that necessitates cultivating an inner sense of curiosity and wonder and delight, which turns out to be the perfect antidote to the anxiety of these uncertain times.

The book is about national parks, non-fiction, large-format, for kids ages 7-12. It will come out in 2018. The illustrations, by a Los Angeles-based magazine illustrator, are knocking my socks not only off but out of the room. I have spent my days talking with rangers about what kids think is really cool about their parks. Catching salamanders! Skidding down huge sand dunes! Meeting sled dogs that protect Denali in winter! Watching carnivorous plants eat BUG SOUP!

The project is a beautiful excuse to also connect with what I love about national parks and wild places. Just the other day, writing about the aurora borealis, I was reminded of the first time I saw it myself. Huge sheets of green fringed with violet swirled across the sky much faster than I had ever imagined. It was so outrageous and unexpected, I actually teared up. The beauty of this planet can seem like such an extravagance. Why be blessed with such grace? We must always remember to come back to the joy of not knowing.